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Government's unknown agenda for SILNA forests

Eric Roy
Opposition Conservation Spokesperson

21 June 2000

Government's unknown agenda for SILNA forests

"The fact that Kevin Smith of Forest and Bird believes the Government may be about to legislate away its responsibility to SILNA owners is a cause for real concern," says National MP Eric Roy..

The Government which paid $120 million to protect West Coast forests, has set aside in this Budget just $12 million over three years for the protection of SILNA (South Island Landless Natives Act) forests.

"The Government paid ten times as much to stop a sustainable forestry operation on the Coast as it is willing to pay to halt unsustainable logging in Southland," Mr Roy says.

"And what's happening to that wood ? People were outraged this week when they discovered wood from precious native forests under SILNA control was being used to fuel log burners - in the homes of the sort of people Helen Clark claims 'don't want to see native trees felled'.

"If the Government was serious about conservation it would have made Southland's forests a top priority, but instead they've left them to be chopped down for firewood"

"Uncertainty about the future of these trees has seen an escalation in the level of logging of SILNA forests - as owners attempt to fell as many trees as possible before any restrictions are negotiated.

"With those forests risking a return to clear-felling what we're witnessing is a Government derelict in its responsibilities.

"Those forests risk being lost to future generations unless this government fronts up with a real sense of commitment, and a willingness to state consistent policies," Eric Roy says.

Ends

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